Meg FFW Graphic

Last month I promised a post about getting through the Academy. I planned to write all about the food that I made, all the hours I cleaned and did laundry, and in general how I was amazing and had this down like a pro. Ha! That is definitely not this post. I mean, I did cook and clean a lot, and I’ll share about that, but this month was so much more than that. I think I truly learned what it means to be a fire wife and be fire strong!

Sure. He’s been in this for three years, an EMT and paid call firefighter for the past one and a half, but this was different. From 5:30 am to 6:00 pm my husband was pretty much unreachable. Like could not even check texts unreachable. He also came home and completely worn out! As in, week one he could barely move. And do you know what else happened this month? Craziness!! Our garage door broke, disposal clogged, and accident prone dog broke his toe and got ticks for the first time (ps anyone want a dog? jk!) I had to make decisions all on my own. I was wrong on the door, but thankfully I was able to change that decision. Immediate medical issues with the dog though, those had to be chosen right then and there.

I’m happy to say that making those decisions was super easy and I never second guessed myself. Not! I hate making decisions for our family, but it had to be done. I was so not expecting this. And you know what, I got totally overwhelmed at times. But that’s okay. I made decisions (splint not surgery) and then cried on my drive home because honestly I just had no idea what else to do. Also, I keep asking God why my dog is so accident prone. I’m pretty sure it is because this is training me for kids. For potentially making medical decisions without Matt. So, for that reason I am grateful for this.

megan dog

We also had some tense moments during his academy. I knew it was challenging for him and physically and mentally draining, but there is only so much that I can fully comprehend. Watching their class video at graduation definitely helped me understand that aspect even better. I felt like my role was support, letting the tension and frustration mount in our home did not help me do that! Instead, it was more like I was welcoming him home after battle, tending to his wounds, and feeding him and letting him rest before he went back into battle. I mean, he wasn’t a soldier fighting, but I was keeping him fed and clothed and massaging out sore muscles if necessary.

This is also where that amazing meal prep that I was talking about came into play. I had one week’s notice that he would start the academy. I kinda freaked out and wasn’t sure what to prep, so I reached out to the wives on the site. They gave me lots of meal and snack ideas, I was so grateful. The night before he started, I whipped up some oats & yogurt, healthy protein bites, celery and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, trail mix, jerky, snack mix, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chicken spinach salads. I had to prepare things on Sundays, because I didn’t have any time during the week. That way I could just throw his lunch together in the morning right before he left. The best thing to make was those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The trick is to make an entire loaf of bread (or two!) worth and freeze them individually in baggies. Then just pull out two a day and toss in the lunch bag / cooler. It’s the perfect combo of protein / carbs / sugar, AND they are super quick and easy to eat. Matthew told me later that they often had short lunches without a microwave, so quick and easy was clutch.

megan academy meal prep

I also made the guys cookies on every Friday. I figured they were working really hard and a treat would be nice! It’s a tradition that I started during Matt’s last academy and was happy to carry on. The guys were super grateful and I think it boosted morale a bit. It also calms me down to bake, so it kept me from getting too stressed about the time apart!

The last week of the academy was definitely the hardest for the both of us. He was training in a station for 12 hours, but stayed the night since it was closer. He was up there Saturday through Thursday. It was unexpected and also exhausting! Which, guess what, trained me even more for fire life! We thought he was off weekends, but he had to train the last weekend. I also figured that I would have him home at nights until he started, but that changed too! We had to adjust our expectations and just go with the flow. That’s exactly what the fire service is going to be too. So I took the opportunity to go out with friends who had been asking, and clean what I had been neglecting. I felt like I couldn’t juggle the cooking and cleaning and my job. This unexpected time apart gave me time to catch up. It also helped me realize that I just cannot do everything, and that’s okay.

The academy is a very stressful and challenging time for your marriage. It can put a wedge in your marriage, or it can strengthen it. (And you better believe that I hit a wall and just started crying and texting one of our sisters. She reminded me of what I just told you). I chose to let this time strengthen us. I realized that I could either wallow (I wasn’t getting much time with him and felt like he wasn’t showing his love for me) or pour out my love in abundance, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to reciprocate in the next few weeks. I chose to be strong, to expect nothing, and to love fully. And you know what, now we are done and he has shown me love over the last few weeks. Even though he was busy, he still found little ways to show his love for me, and the fact that they were completely unexpected made it even more special!

megan matt grad

As of last Friday, he is a graduate, and as of Easter, a full time (limited term) firefighter. I’m still wrapping my mind around it. Each day it hits me a little more that he’s a firefighter and I’m a firefighter wife. Being full time is quite the change from paid call. We’re still learning to adjust, and I am grateful for the lessons that I learned from the academy, as well as everything that he learned!

Photo Apr 20, 7 27 03 PM

What helped you through you husband’s academy? Any survival secrets?

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Megan is a relatively new firewifey in Southern California. She loves the Lord, her (fire)man, coffee & wine! She and her husband, Matt, have two dogs and two cats. She bakes, sews, crochets, & loves to be creative in any way. You can also find her blogging at firewifey.com. Matt is a Limited Term firefighter with our County, applying all over the place for that full time gig.

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